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Labour candidate faces suspension after claiming UK troops have

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Labour candidate faces suspension after claiming UK troops have ‘blood on their hands’

LABOUR General Election candidate Douglas Beattie, who is battling to become MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, branded the poppy a “propaganda symbol.” is at risk of suspension after saying British troops in Northern Ireland have “blood on their hands.”

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Trump says he misspoke on Russia meddling; has full faith in US intelligence agencies

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US President Donald Trump today said that he believes in the assessment of his intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in American elections in 2016 and his remarks contrary to this a day earlier in Helsinki was a case of misspeaking.

His statement came after he faced a barrage of criticism from his opponents and even from his own party for not backing the American intelligence community’s assessment during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

“I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies, always have. And I have felt very strongly that while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying and I’ve said this many times, I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“Could be other people also. A lot of people out there. There was no collusion at all, and people have seen that and they’ve seen that strongly. The House has already come out very strongly on that, a lot of people have come out strongly on that,” he said amidst a national political outrage over his remarks that the Russians did not interfere in the 2016 presidential elections.

At the Helsinki press conference, Trump had said “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia that meddled in the US election.

Trump, however, said that he misspoke.

“It should’ve been obvious, I thought it would be obvious, but I would like to clarify just in case I wasn’t. A key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t’. The sentence should have been I don’t see any reason why I wouldn’t or why it wouldn’t be Russia,” he said.

“So just to repeat it, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t’, and the sentence should have been — and I thought I would be maybe a little bit unclear on the transcript or unclear on the actual video. The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia. Sort of a double negative. So you can put that in, and I think that probably clarifies things pretty good by itself.

“I have on numerous occasions noted our intelligence findings that Russians attempted to interfere in our elections,” said the US President.

Trump alleged that unlike previous administrations, his administration has and will continue to move aggressively to repeal any efforts and will stop and repel any efforts to interfere in US elections.

“We’re doing everything in our power to prevent Russian interference in 2018. We have a lot of power. As you know, President (Barack) Obama has given information just prior to the last election 2016, and they decided not to do anything about it. The reason they decided that was pretty obvious, cause oh, they thought Hillary Clinton was going to win.

“They didn’t think it was a big deal. When I won the election, they thought it was a very big deal and all of a sudden, they went into action but it was a little bit late,” Trump said.

Top officials of the Obama administration knew about Russia’s attempt to interfere in the election in September and they totally buried it because they thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win, he alleged.

“By contrast, my administration has taken a very firm stance on a strong action. We’re going to take strong action to secure our election systems and the process. Furthermore, as has been stated and we’ve stated it previously and on many occasions, no collusion,” Trump added.

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Pakistan judge who had convicted Sharif, recuses from hearing 2 other graft cases

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A Pakistani anti-corruption court judge who had sentenced Nawaz Sharif to 10 years in jail in a graft case, has recused himself from hearing two other corruption cases against the former prime minister.

Justice Muhammad Bashir of the Islamabad Accountability Court, in a letter addressed to Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Anwar Khan Kasi, said that the Al-Azizia steel mills and the Flagship corruption cases should be transferred to some other judge, according to the IHC sources.

In the letter, the judge said that he had no objection if the cases were transferred as he could not hear these cases, they said.

The move came on the heels of filing of separate appeals by Sharif, 68, his daughter Maryam, 44, and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar, challenging the verdict.

Earlier, Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Haris had objected to Justice Bashir hearing the two other corruption cases.

The Islamabad Accountability Court had on July 6 found Sharif, his daughter and his son-in-law guilty over the family’s ownership of four luxury flats in London.

The court sentenced Sharif to a total of 10 years in prison and imposed a fine of 8 million pounds (USD 10 million) in the Avenfield corruption case. Maryam was sentenced to seven years in prison along with a 2 million pounds (USD 2.6 million) fine.

Sharif and Maryam were arrested in Lahore on July 13 on their arrival from London. They were later taken to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi.

Sharif’s son-in-law, Safdar, who was arrested on July 8, is also lodged in the same Adiala Jail.

Three-time prime minister Sharif resigned as Pakistan prime minister last year after the Supreme Court disqualified him from holding public office and ruled that graft cases be filed against the beleaguered leader and his children over the Panama Papers scandal.

Last week, Sharif’s lawyer Khawaja Haris had objected to Justice Bashir hearing the two other corruption cases when the judge resumed hearing.

Harris said how Judge Bashir can hear the two cases when he had already given verdict in Avenfield case.

He further said that evidence and charges in all cases are almost similar.

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Trump faces outrage back home after Putin summit

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday faced political outrage in the US for not backing the American intelligence community’s claim that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, following the Helsinki summit with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

From describing his comments at the joint press conference as “disgraceful”, “shameful” to “treacherous”, even some of his closest supporters described Trump’s statements as the most serious mistake of his presidency.

Trump, who returned at the White House after his week-long trip to Europe, has defended his comments.

“As I said today and many times before, ‘I have GREAT confidence in MY intelligence people’. However, I also recognise that in order to build a brighter future, we cannot exclusively focus on the past as the world’s two largest nuclear powers, we must get along!” Trump said in a tweet aboard Air Force One on his way back home.

“I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace, than to risk peace in pursuit of politics,” he said, adding that a productive dialogue is not only good for the US and Russia, but also for the world.

US analysts said Trump refused to convincingly state that the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election at his press conference with Putin after their first summit meeting.

“They said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin he just said it’s not Russia,” Trump said, adding that he does not “see any reason why it would be” Russia. Putin too has rejected the allegations.

“Today’s press conference in Helsinki was one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory. The damage inflicted by President Trump’s naivet , egotism, false equivalence, and sympathy for autocrats is difficult to calculate. But it is clear that the summit in Helsinki was a tragic mistake,” said Republican Senator John McCain, who chairs the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee.

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin. He and Putin seemed to be speaking from the same script as the president made a conscious choice to defend a tyrant against the fair questions of a free press, and to grant Putin an uncontested platform to spew propaganda and lies to the world,” he said.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and one of the president’s closest supporters too criticised him.

“President Trump must clarify his statements in Helsinki on our intelligence system and Putin. It is the most serious mistake of his presidency and must be corrected – immediately,” Gingrich tweeted.

Soon the head of the US intelligence agencies and a Trump appointee issued a statement reiterating that Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential elections.

“We have been clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy, and we will continue to provide unvarnished and objective intelligence in support of our national security,” Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence said.

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors’. It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???” tweeted John Brennan, said former CIA director John Brennan.

“Today, in a disgusting, disturbing and deeply dangerous appearance seen around the world, Donald Trump sided with an authoritarian leader of another country over our own intelligence agencies,” said Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.

“What we saw today was the President of the United States belittling our country’s own men and women in the intelligence community, refusing to acknowledge or hold accountable Putin for Russian hacking in our elections, and standing in the most servile way next to Putin, advancing Russia’s interests in spite of what that means for America,” she said.

Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said Trump failed to confront Putin on Russian interference in US elections and placed more trust in the Russian dictator’s denials than in the assessments of US intelligence.

“President Trump did not carry out his responsibility as a global leader, and he should have done much more than simply asking the question of whether interference occurred. President Trump’s failure to stand up to the Kremlin has given it carte blanche to interfere in our upcoming elections, and that should frighten us all,” he said.

The mainstream US media also expressed outrage.

“Putin’s poodle: Trump sells out US intelligence agencies with the world watching,” said The New York Daily News.

“Why Won’t Donald Trump Speak for America? The president lays himself at Vladimir Putin’s feet,” The New York Times said in an editorial.

“Trump just colluded with Russia. Openly,” wrote the Washington Post’s editorial board. “Mr Trump appeared to align himself with the Kremlin against American law enforcement before the Russian ruler and a global audience,” the daily said.

“The world hasn’t seen a US president like this in modern times, and as ever in Trump World everyone else will have to adapt. Let’s navigate between the critics who predict the end of the world order and the cheerleaders who see only genius, and try to offer a realistic assessment of the fallout from a troubling week,” The Wall Street Journal said in its editorial.

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